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These are the top employee benefits companies will offer in 2023

August 2, 2022, 1:38 PM UTC
A transgender woman working on her laptop at office.
Well-being and behavioral health benefits will be the dominant incentives employers will offer in the coming year, according to a newly released Mercer survey.
Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

Good morning!

Your benefits program is no longer delivering the same ROI. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In the past, employers considered a good benefits offering to be one that solely cuts down on medical plan costs and pads the bottom line. That frame of thinking has since expanded to include improved employee mental health and decreased turnover—both of which have become paramount in today’s employee-driven talent market. 

Well-being and behavioral health benefits will be the dominant incentives employers will offer in the coming year, according to a newly released Mercer survey analyzing health and benefits strategies for 2023. Leaders have shifted from a purely bottom-line focus, to providing perks that boost retention and support underrepresented employees. 

“The more well-being resources an employer provides, the lower their average turnover,” says Beth Umland, Mercer’s director of employer research for health and benefits.  

Employers, she notes, are also offering more flexibility with respect to location and the amount of time spent in the office. And more companies say they will enhance their overall benefits in the near future. According to respondents:

  • 65% say they plan to make some enhancements in 2023, while 5% say they plan to make significant advancements to attract and retain talent.  
  • 67% of employers say they plan to offer enhanced employee assistance programs in 2023, while 15% say they plan to make behavioral health care more affordable. 
  • 78% of employers say they will offer an option to regularly work from home in 2023, while 66% say they offer or plan to offer flexible work schedules or a four-day workweek. 
  • 50% of employers say they offer or plan to offer other benefits and policies that promote work-life balance. 

Researchers also identified mental health training as an emerging workplace trend. A whopping 35% of employers now say they will provide managers with training to recognize employee behavioral issues and steer them toward resources, while 26% say they will offer employee and peer training. 

But providing employees with such benefits and them actually using it are two different things. Communication is key in closing that gap, says Tracy Watts, Mercer’s national leader for U.S. health policy.

She says that companies can leverage on-the-ground benefits ambassadors, individuals who can provide relatable and personal use cases. “Not just telling people about the benefits, but perhaps including stories about how they benefited from it,” says Watts.

I want to hear from you! What are the biggest HR challenges and priorities today? Reach out to me at amber.burton@fortune.com. I’m hosting 15-minute desksides with HR and DEI executives. You could see your response in a future newsletter.

Amber Burton
amber.burton@fortune.com
@amberbburton

Reporter’s Notebook

This week, I spoke with Sabine Bendiek, chief people and operating officer, labor relations director, and executive board member at SAP. As economists duke out whether the U.S. is in a recession, I asked her what talent strategies HR leaders should hold tight as companies traverse economic uncertainty. Here’s what she had to say:

“Never let go of your pipeline for great talent. But I think the other one just very consciously is, let's make sure no matter how tough times are we continue to look after specifically two groups. One: our own people and how we continue to upskill and reskill them. And secondly, young talent, early talent, people coming out of universities [and] coming out of vocational training because I think they're so important to bring into the workforce.

I think if they have a number of false starts we’re just losing so much potential for additional perspective, additional energy, and people just coming in looking at things without sort of prior knowledge of how things are done. And that actually is the value.”

Around the Table

- Kansas voters are heading to the polls today to vote on whether the state will protect the right to an abortion. It’s the first of many referendums to come across the country. The Guardian

- The EEOC is kicking off a listening series, titled “Advancing Racial and Economic Justice in the Workplace,” to receive public input for what should be included in its Strategic Enforcement Plan. EEOC

- New research by McKinsey found that Black and Hispanic employees not only account for the majority of frontline jobs, but they’re getting stuck there. At least 70% work in frontline jobs. Wall Street Journal

- The pandemic brought an avalanche of workplace lawsuits, ranging from workplace safety to employer jurisdiction. Recent court decisions are providing companies with clarity. Reuters 

- The number of full-time remote employees is decreasing in certain areas, especially in small and mid-sized cities. New York Times

Roll Call

The latest in HR executive moves. 

Customer experience company Sitecore appointed Kim Sullivan as chief human resources officer. Prior to joining the company, Sullivan served as chief people officer at Concentrix. Workplace management company OfficeSpace Software appointed Lexi Jones as its first chief people officer. Have a move? Let me know: amber.burton@fortune.com

Watercooler

Everything you need to know from Fortune. 

Work from anywhere. In February 2021, Spotify launched its "Work From Anywhere" policy. In the months following, turnover dropped. The company says its turnover is now below pre-pandemic levels and that it's simultaneously increased diversity numbers. Spotify CHRO Katrina Berg says it’s proof that employees crave flexibility and freedom at work. —Aman Kidwai

Gen Z fantasies. Want to know what the ideal world of work looks like for Gen Z? Turn to TikTok. A host of young content creators are flocking to the app to express their fantasies for the workplace. It looks a lot like four-day workweeks and stronger work-life balance. The comments on these videos, though colorful and often in jest, can be gleaned for entertaining insight on what kind of culture this cohort seeks in the workplace. —Jane Thier

Suit and tie. Downgrading your office attire and leaving your tie at home could save energy. At least, that’s what Spanish Premier Pedro Sanchez believes. In a recent news conference, he encouraged ministers and office workers to follow his lead to help save energy by keeping cooler. On Monday, Spain’s government approved an energy efficiency and savings program, officially joining  other European countries that instated similar measures. —Rodrigo Orihuela, Bloomberg

ICYMI. In an exclusive for Fortune, senior editor-at-large Geoff Colvin recounts McDonald’s decision to sell all 853 of its stores in Russia. It took the fast food giant’s CEO Chris Kempczinski 81 days to come to the decision that it would offload the hundreds of stores that had been a major part of its rise to become a globally dominant brand. Money quote: "My general approach on leadership stuff is, don’t make a decision until you absolutely have to make a decision."—Geoff Colvin

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